06 May 2009

Springtime in Alabama...

I like to think that Spring is my favorite season in the South. The wild flowers and clover take over the land, and the temperatures are a mild 80 degrees. I like to think that this is the time of year to host garden cookouts and sit outside in the Adirondack chairs until the last bit of sunlight each day disappears later and later each day. But, see, here's the truth of it--I somehow forget, until Spring in the South is upon me again, that the entire season is a matter of dodging tornados and praying that your home and your loved ones are not destroyed by "the big one."

When I was a child, the excitement of hearing the sirens revving up, grabbing the candles and my favorite stuffed animal and running down to the dirt cellar of our 1916 Victorian house was thrilling! I'd curl up in my father's arms, my old-fashion cotton nightgown smudged with dirt and the sickly sweet smell of mildew in my nostrils. (I think my secret love of the faint scent of mildew reminds me of my childhood Springtime moments in that cellar.) I can't remember how my parents reacted to it. I can't remember if they were scared. I like to imagine they were cool and confident about the matter, not worrying about falling tree limbs and roofs being ripped from houses, and the insurance claims to be filed. I like to imagine that they were caught up with me and my sister in our primitive game in that dirt cellar with candles and old-fashion night gowns. In those times in the cellar, we only mattered to each other.

If you're truly from the South, your childhood memories are riddled with tales of that "big twister of year-such-n-such." I'm sitting here now, in this wild digital era (is that term outdated yet?), blogging to you while I watch the warnings and the skies gradually turn black. I'm watching the weather reports and the damage reports of my surrounding cities. It's heading this way. My home has no cellar and I'm not wearing any old-fashion nightgown. I'm hoping my husband gets home from work before it hits, and that my father's building in Cullman wasn't part of the damage I'm hearing about in the reports. They're telling me it's gonna hit Birmingham in nine minutes. I'm not as fatalistic as I was a few years ago, but I don't like NOT having a place to go hide. Give me a mildewy cellar in this Alabama Springtime.

I guess that's it for now. I've got to get my dogs on their leashes and go duck my head in my 2 square foot "hallway."

Springtime is here.

05 May 2009

I'm back, like Bond.

Geeeeez. I disappeared again and am so sorry. Again. Things in life just keep getting crazier, and all I know to do is find a way to keep making it all work. Of course, now MY computer is on the fritz, leaving me to the mercy of my husband's schedule. Somehow I will find a way around this...

In other awesome news, the husband's show last weekend opening for the Avett Brothers at Sloss Furnace was an incredible time! There was a crowd of over 2,000 people who received him very well, and I had exclusive photo priveleges for the whole show! Go check out the photos, here.

I've also taken up playing music these days! I am teaching myself how to play bass for the all girl band I play with, Paperdolls. Go listen to our first demo over here. It is so much fun. We actually just had a photo shoot with Don Van Cleave, one of my favorite people and photographers ever. I can't wait to get the image files to show you guys!

Well, I guess when I spell it all out, I have more going on than I initially thought. Sometimes it is too easy to let yourself slip into the dark recesses of discontentment and kind of lose yourself and just go into emotional shutdown. I used to privately journal about this all the time. I finally took all the journals from age 8 to about 20 off of my bookshelf. While they hold the joys and dreams of a girl coming into herself, they also hold a lot of pain and sadness and, honestly, depression. I don't need that glaring down at me these days. Knowing they're boxed up kind of let me forget about that side of myself for a while. But the fact of the matter is, this is a part of who I am, a part of myself that I constantly have to renegotiate and while I want this space to be a source of inspiration, it's okay for me to share a little about it. Because most of us face it. If not every day, then at least once in a while. I'm working my way through it, and I feel like my emotional space kind of runs parallel to my blog space. You can all see where I am in the colors and images (and now, obviously, words) that I post here.

The best thing I know to do is to work through it. Because it's just too easy and so sad to just give in and just stop.

Anyway, I'm feeling the hintings of a little international mystery and great design. Penguin Books commissioned artist Michael Gillette to create 14 covers for Iam Fleming's Bond series, Centenary Edition collection. These books are simply GORGEOUS.

For more information on this limited edition series, check out the Official Penguin Blog, here. And also go check out the Penguin Books launch site for the books, here.

I hope you all have a blessed, wonderful day. See you tomorrow.

23 April 2009

What I will be doing today...

Hey there, friends. I am heavy in the throes of photo editing. As I mentioned yesterday, the husband and I went to see Mogwai. And it was FANTASTIC! One of the best shows I have ever seen! I ended up getting a photo pass--thanks Brian!! I had such a blast shooting them. The lights were ALL over the place. Quite the challenge. I've got about 600 shots to go through, which I will throw up on Flickr as soon as I'm finished.

Until then, why don't you stop by my Flickr page and check out some of the other bands and people and things and places I've photographed?

Just click...Morgan Jones Johnston's Flickr.

See you guys in a bit. And I hope you're enjoying this BEAUTIFUL day!

22 April 2009


Hey Everyone,If you are in Birmingham tonight (or in the driving radius) come to Workplay to see MOGWAI!!

To get tickets, visit their web site (linked above) or call: 205.380.4082
Tickets are $20 and it's an all ages show.
Workplay is located at 500 23rd St. S.
Birmingham, Al 35233.

Our good friends at Secret History Productions are putting on the show and it is sure to phenomenal!

Don't believe me? Just watch their video for "Stanley Kubrick."

Beloved Curiosity: Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

I grew up in a little country town in North Alabama, called Cullman. It was a small town with gorgeous Victorian and Georgian and Arts and Crafts homes. The downtown was comprised of a few square blocks with an appliance store that still flies brightly colored balloons and streamers outside its doors, a German toy store that sells lederhosen and nesting dolls, and a bakery, The Duchess, that to this day sells 40cent cookies.

One of those city blocks houses a great hidden treasure of the nation--Southern Accents Architectural Antiques. Housed in the 1901 county undertaker's building (the brick exterior still visibly read "UNDERTAKER") are the door knobs, claw-foot tubs, carved mantles, chandeliers, hardware, windows, and more of eras long passed.

Family-owned, Southern Accents is a mecca for the architecturally obsessed. People fly from around the country to peruse the building that still has the original wood floors and piping from the old Undertaker.

They have an extensive Web site catalog of current items at www.sa1969.com. But nothing compares to going there yourself and exploring, though they do ship anywhere...

If you are in Alabama and looking for a nice day trip in this beautiful Springtime weather, you'll find Southern Accents north of Birmingham on I-65 and south of Hunstville on I-65.

Their address is: 308 2nd Ave. S.E.
Cullman, Al 35055

Here are a few photos I took a couple weeks ago when the husband and I stopped in for a visit.

And here are a few photos from Southern Accent's Web site, of current items they have in stock...

LEFT: cast iron sink, $1450.
RIGHT: terra cotta from a building in Chicago (set of 5), $275 each.

double arch beveled and colored rondels stained glass, 14.5"x60," $850.

LEFT: leaded glass windows, 20"x29," $235/pair.
RIGHT: crystal chandelier, 35"x18," $1250.

LEFT: heartpine half mantel, 58'x50," $375.
RIGHT: pine full mantel, 62"x79," $2750.

LEFT: set of gates, 56"x90," $950.
RIGHT: oak gothic-style door, 34.5"x80," $900.

cast iron entry gate, 9' in middle/7' on sides/14' wide, $2850/set

LEFT: heartpine double doors from Chicago, both sides stained, 30"x8,' call for inquiry.
RIGHT: pine door with window with strap hinges, 79"x36," $1850.

cast aluminum benches and chairs, many styles to choose from, call for inquiry.

folding pews, all stained w/metal ends, from an 1887 church in Shelbyville, TN
10' long, 30 benches total, $525 each.

LEFT: overview of window sashes in stock, $15 each.
RIGHT: Providential Tile Works, Trenton, NJ, 6"x6," $45 each.

For more information, give the Gudger family a call at Southern Accents. Or just drive up there. You can walk around, take some photos, and get a 40 cent cookie at the Duchess.

21 April 2009

A little morning dose of creepy awesome...

Good morning everyone! I don't know why but I just woke up in a wild mood. I think it's because I practiced the bass line to Velvet Underground's "Lady Godiva's Operation" for WAY too long last night...
Anyway, I woke up thinking about Rosemary's Baby and what an incredible and very stylish movie it is. I searched around YouTube
and found the original trailer for the film's release. The song that starts playing about 45 seconds into it is SUCH AN AWESOME song!! It makes me think a lot of Vincent Gallo's recordings. It's very jazzy and and has that menacing kind of feel... LOVE it.

Anyway, here's the trailer so you can hear just what I'm talking about.

19 April 2009

I'm back!

Hey friends, I feel like I've been away from the blogosphere for so long...I was in a bit of a personal rut and lacked all inspiration. I'm battling the bad vibes and trying to get back to a good, creative, motivated place.

As Flaubert so brilliantly put it, one should "be regular and orderly in your life, so you be violent and original in your work."

So I am resuming painting regularly--a goal perhaps of one painting every week?
I have taken up playing the bass guitar. My dear friend, Greg, loaned me his extra bass that was laying around the studio and showed me all the notes last night. I cut my nails and cowgirled up, noodling through all the initial bad notes and new fingertip callouses.

I set up my actual office/studio at our house, which mean every morning I can come back here and have some sort of creative space to start my day.

And I am trying to start dragging myself to the gym again (and REALLY trying to convince myself I love it.)

So today...a little shopping!
There are two things I want really, really, badly right now and both are jackets. The first is a studded leather jacket. I'm not really one for the punk aesthetic, but I think there is something so sexy and, bear with, refined about a well-fitted, tastefully designed leather jacket with a few embellishments. I personally prefer the large, flat studs because they're the ironic, "softer" sisters of the stud family, but a well-proportioned pyramid stud would work for me, too.

left: Jacket by Religion. Photo from Stellar Magazine.
right: Jacket by Topshop. Image from Fashionista At Play.

And, this, the greatest studded jacket in the land---Karen O's (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) leather jacket, designed by Christian Joy. Revel in its awesomeness. Seriously. (Image from ArchiveVintage.)

The second thing I want is a military, Sgt. Pepper-style jacket. It's kind of snarky and incredibly chic.

left: Balmain Military Style Denim Jacket. From net-a-porter.
right: Another Balmain. Image from Jewel-And-Jewel.

All right people. That's it for this morning. See you tomorrow! (And it's good to be back!!)

14 April 2009

Beloved Curiosity: Andrew Bucci

Andrew Bucci is a Southern-born artist who currently lives in Maryland. Born in 1922, Bucci began taking art lessons at a young age and grew up with a very diverse and thorough education ranging from Engineering at LSU to art in Chicago, France, NYC and some Meteorology at some point. Bucci was a Meteorologist in Maryland from 1956-1979, but he always painted. He still paints now and even creates needlepoint reproductions of some of his works.

He is represented by the Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, LA and Brown's Fine Art in Jackson, MS.

left: "Lady Seated in Yellow Dress," 1950-51.
right: "Seated Nude II," 1950-51.

left: "Lady at Rest"
right: "Color Splash"

13 April 2009

The women of Picasso

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, or Pablo Picasso was infamous for his illustrious love affairs. Rather than spotlight Picasso himself, let's take a look at the women who inspired him, who loved him, and those who he drove mad.

Fernande was a fascinating woman who inspired many of Picasso's painting in the Rose and Blue periods, as well as some of his earliest Cubist paintings. Her journals have been published a few times and are on my reading list. There is a fabulous article you can read about this Zola-type character here.

left: "Fernande Olivier," 1905.
right: "Nude in an Armchair," summer of 1909.

Next came Marcelle Humbert, whom Picasso called Eva Gouel. She was the subject of many of his Cubist paintings.

left: "Ma Jolie" (Woman with a Zither on Guitar), 1911.
right: study for "Femme en Chemise dans un fauteuil," 1913.

Olga was a ballerina and Picasso's first wife. She introduced him to high society, but Picasso was unwilling to give up his Bohemian lifestyle. They separated but never divorced because he did not want her to gain half of his wealth in divorce. They here technically married until her death in 1955.

"Olga in an Armchair," 1918.

Marie-Therese had a long affair with Pablo. She mothered several children by him and always held high hopes that he would eventually marry her. After his death, she hung herself.

left: "Marie-Theres Walter," 1937.
right: "Marie-Therese Walter," 1937. (I love this one.)

left: "Marie-Therese Walter," 1937.
right: "Marie-Therese Walter," 1937.

Maar became Picasso's companion as she documented his creation of "Guernica." Picasso called her his "private muse."

left: "Portrait of Dora Maar," 1937.
right: "Dora Maar," 1937.

Francoise was a beautiful young art student who took up with Pablo when he was well into his 60s. She mothered two children by him- Claude and Paloma. (Paloma is an artist who has designed pieces for Tiffany's.) Anyway, Francoise couldn't handle all the women in Pablo's life. She left him and married Jonas Salk.

left: "Portrait of Francoise," 1946.
right: "Francoise Gilot with Claude and Paloma," 1951.

While Picasso had several more lovers who inspired his work, this is a nice taste. Isn't it amazing how beauty can both inspire and destroy at the same time? I can only imagine the intense emotions that filled these women's lives...And to have it all documented through the collection of one of the world's most influential and well-known artists...

07 April 2009

Vintage travel posters

I'm feeling a wave of nostalgia and beyond desire for some international travel...Here are some beautiful vintage travel posters. I hear President Obama is talking about lifting some of the travel restrictions on Cuba. I hope it happens!! I have wanted to go to Havana for YEARS!!